|

Trimming the Lamps

Forum dedicated to photos and information regarding history of lights, life-saving stations, keepers, lost lighthouses and more.

Moderator: vacastle

Postby island » Sat Jan 17, 2009 10:39 am


Herold B. Jennings describes trimming lighthouse lamp wicks in his book A Lighthouse Family. Herold's father Charles entered the Lighthouse Service in 1907 and served at several light stations. Herold was born in 1921 and grew up on Lovells Island in Boston Harbor where his father was keeper of the Lovells Island Range Lights from 1919 to 1939. In his book Herald describes learning from his father how to properly trim the circular wicks of the lamp within each of the two fourth-order Fresnel lenses.

"Dad would [lift the chimney and] put his finger in the flame to level the wick so it would burn evenly. I always wanted to put my finger through the flame as I watched my father. It took me quite awhile to learn how to put your finger in the flame of a lamp and not get burned. Your would have to bring the wick down to the lowest point and rub your finger all the way around to smooth the burned stuff off so that the wick would burn nice and even and not have smoky ends. After I accomplished this performance, I became brave. It was a big event when I brought someone home as a guest and showed him how I could trim the wick. The poor guy who didn't know how, was scared to put his finger in the flame and I would never tell him how long it took me to get the courage to do it. Lamp trimming had to be done every night at about nine or ten o'clock on both towers. (They were no doubt trimmed again later when Herald was sleeping) The lamps were lit at sunset and had to go through the night until sunrise when they were turned off and the lenses covered."

A Lighthouse Family is a really great book about growing up on a light station. From also growing up on a light station in later years I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Herald's life at the range lights on Lovells island. It is a fabulous book and that I highly recommend.
island
Lt. Commissioner
 
Posts: 2035
Joined: Fri Dec 13, 2002 1:00 am

Postby island » Sun Jan 18, 2009 9:12 am


This is another story from Herold's book and it is typical of many of his accounts of things that took place during his life at this light station.
It is about bringing a man from Boston to the island who came to tune the piano. The man was blind.

"While waiting on the pier for the boat to come to take him back to Boston we decided to catch some mackerel. I can remember watching this blind man when the pole was put in his hands. After Dad taught him the motions, he caught a mackerel. You should have seen this man when he felt the fish. He was so pleased with what he caught -- a moment I never forgot. We wrapped the fish in a newspaper so he could take it home with him."
island
Lt. Commissioner
 
Posts: 2035
Joined: Fri Dec 13, 2002 1:00 am

Postby Grover1 » Mon Jan 19, 2009 5:38 am


Dave ... the second story reads almost as a parable ... thanks for sharing them both ... A little more of Lovell's Island from Jeremy's site ... http://www.lighthouse.cc/lovells/history.html

A postcard question, the card one of two posted at Jeremy's site as well ... at first glance, I assumed them to be the twin range lights at Lovell's ... However, at second glance, the caption to the postcard reads "Ranges Light, Georges Island, Boston Harbor" ... same island, different name? Or, as a quick, very quick GOOGLING revealed, a neighboring island and confusion by either the photgrapher or captioner?

An assumption on my part, but perhaps the rendering is a view from Georges Island?

Image
Last edited by Grover1 on Mon Jan 19, 2009 8:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Believe those who search for the truth ...
Doubt those who find it ...
User avatar
Grover1
Lighthouse God
 
Posts: 5999
Joined: Fri Jun 13, 2003 12:00 am
Location: God's Square Mile

Postby island » Mon Jan 19, 2009 8:10 am


The postcard view looks quite like Lovell's--the dwelling and the relative location of the towers and dwelling. I don't think neighboring Georges Island had lights. The only other range lights in this area were on Specticle Island some distance to the west. It does look to me as you said as viewed from the direction of Georges.

Looking at JD's site I found something confusing. He lists the Lovell's lights as both red and the rear light flashing. My 1935 Light List (date of the list, not when I got it :) ) identifies both fixed white. It also lists Specticle as both fixed red.

Do think there would be interest in my posting additional items here from the Jennings book?
island
Lt. Commissioner
 
Posts: 2035
Joined: Fri Dec 13, 2002 1:00 am

Postby Grover1 » Tue Jan 20, 2009 11:43 am


Compliments of a non-McCave Dave ...

Image
Believe those who search for the truth ...
Doubt those who find it ...
User avatar
Grover1
Lighthouse God
 
Posts: 5999
Joined: Fri Jun 13, 2003 12:00 am
Location: God's Square Mile


Return to Lighthouse & LSS History

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron